Crew Commander Alaister retires

‘The thrill of driving the fire engine was brilliant - I thought I was in the Thunderbirds’

Crew Commander Alaister retires

Alaister McFarland pictured with his son James who also works with him in the family vehicle recovery and transport business. James has been a firefighter in Ballycastle for 13 years.

Lisa Gregg


Lisa Gregg


Wednesday 29 December 2021 12:31

AFTER almost 29 years of serving the community as a member of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Ballycastle's Alaister McFarland began his well earned retirement last week.

Reared in Capecastle, Alaister moved to Ballycastle after getting married and on March 1 1993 began his career as a retained firefighter in the Fire Brigade.

He told the Chronicle: “As I grew up I would have known members of the fire brigade and knew I wanted to get involved when I was older.
“When I got married and moved to Ballycastle I saw an advert in the newspaper and sent off for an application form – I was delighted when I passed everything and was offered a job.

“They were busy days, we had four youngsters, two boys and two girls and many a time the beeper went when we were in the middle of family events such as the cinema or the circus and I just had to get up and go.”

In the same year as he joined up, Alaister took another major step in his personal life by setting up his own business.

He said: “I became a self employed mechanic so I would be able to go on call outs without causing problems with an employer.

“Then in 1996 I passed my HGV lorry test which meant I could now drive the fire engine! That was a brilliant thrill! To think I had went from a young boy playing with a toy fire engine to driving the real thing within three years of signing up.”

For more see this week's Ballycastle Chronicle

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